After the German surrender in November 1918, the German High Seas Fleet was interned at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, the anchorage for the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet throughout the First World War. Determined not to see his ships fall into the hands of the Allied Powers as the protracted peace negotiations at Versailles dragged on, the German commander, Admiral Von Reuter, decided to scuttle his fleet and secretly passed orders between his ships for their skeleton crews to open the seacocks on 21 June 1919. Most ships began to sink within hours, witnessed by a visiting group of school children suddenly caught up in an event of international importance.
More than fifty of the seventy-four German ships that had steamed into Scapa Flow were successfully scuttled and sunk, the remainder having been beached before they could sink. More than thirty of the sunken warships would later be raised but the others remain on the seabed, making Scapa Flow one of the world's top diving destinations.
This book follows the events of that momentous day, drawing on the eyewitness accounts of those who saw the crisis unfold at first hand. The book makes extensive use of archive material, personal letters and contemporary photographs to bring alive the extraordinary events of that Midsummer's Day in 1919.
Everyone is familiar with the story of D-Day and the triumphal liberation of France by the Allies: a barbaric enemy was defeated by Allied ingenuity, courage and overwhelming military force, helped by dreadful German command errors and the terrible state of Wehrmacht forces in the West - but is this all true? The Wehrmacht was hugely experienced, equipped with some of the best weaponry of the war and was holding its own in Italy and Russia at the time. Berlin knew the invasion was coming and had had years to prepare for it. So how did the Germans view the impending invasion and campaign, did they feel ready, what forces did they have and could they have done better?
Previous histories have focused on the `clash of the generals'; the battle between von Runstedt and Eisenhower, Montgomery and Rommel, but on the German side in particular this was a battle that would be fought by divisional and regimental commanders; the `German D-Day colonels' upon whom the real business of trying to defeat the invasion fell - it was they and their men, outnumbered and outgunned, who somehow held Normandy for ten whole weeks against the greatest seaborne invasion force ever assembled, and occasionally even came close to defeating it.
In the end they lost, and the majority of these unsung leaders ended up killed, wounded or captured in the fighting. As for their men, they ranged from elite Waffen-SS stormtroopers through to bewildered teenagers, old men, `recycled' invalids and even anti-communist Eastern legions. Written from the `other side' and told through the words of the veterans, this book is a revelation.
The D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 were the culmination of months of meticulous planning and organisation. A vast army had to be trained and equipped; huge amounts of material - from tin cans to tank transporters, petrol to parachutes - had to be stockpiled, distributed and readied for transport to the beaches of Normandy; bombing missions had to reduce the enemy; fighters, minesweepers and other naval missions had to clear the English Channel; and, finally, the men had to embark and the armada had to deliver its cargo to a strict timetable under enemy fire onto a hostile shore.
For understandable reasons, the emphasis on remembrance of D-Day is focused on the beaches: that's where the battles took place; that's where most of the casualties occurred; that's where the remarkable stories were written in blood, sand and shingle. We should never forget the sacrifice of those who fell, but equally we shouldn't forget the sacrifices of those who prepared the way.
The hundred locations chosen for this book are a small collection of those places in Britain that were involved in the preparations for D-Day. It would have been easy to choose a hundred others: few parts of Britain were not part of the war effort. It is perhaps best to see the chosen 100 as starting points from which the reader can discover the considerable depth of involvement required to launch the great invasion.
Whilst the Gallipoli Campaign has received considerable interest over the years, the work of the Royal Engineers during that campaign has been largely overlooked. This book seeks to address this oversight to demonstrate the amount of engineering work required for a seaborne invasion.
It was the engineers that provided the technical and professional back up for the rest of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and produced the knowhow to keep the men in the front line supplied with all manner of necessities for their work. The Royal Engineers were working on the first day of the landings and were amongst the last to leave on the evacuation, and their story includes all the major engagement of the campaign. It also includes the sometimes difficult tasks of providing infrastructure to the peninsula handling all kinds of engineering works, from piers to land the stores, to roads and railways to distribute the equipment to the various parts of the line.
A large part of their work on Gallipoli was the location and development of water supply across this dry peninsula. They dug wells, constructed reservoirs and provided miles of piping to connect both with watering points across the dry landscape. They were also responsible for all the land based signalling, with a number of signal companies established to ensure that messages were relayed with as little delay as possible.
It was not long after the first exchanges that it was clear that some of the siege techniques of the Western Front would need to be employed and the Royal Engineers provided the expertise for the mining work that took the underground war to the Turkish army. It was not long thereafter that the Allied miners had a more or less complete mastery of the underground war.
The demands of the front line fighting man meant that the Royal Engineers needed to rapidly become masters of their environment as they carried on their construction work throughout the campaign, and were ultimately to carry a large responsibility for providing the means to evacuate the soldiers and stores when an end to the campaign was called.
The book looks at the structure of the Royal Engineers at the beginning of the Great War and the way in which in which they sat within the structure of the MEF and how their work was controlled at Brigade, Division and Corps level. This book is organised to show the work of the Royal Engineers, and the units of the Australian and New Zealand armies, at each stage of the campaign, putting their work in the context of the major offensives of the campaign. It also addresses briefly the work of the engineers on the nearby islands, such as Imbros, where GHQ was based, and Lemnos where engineers worked on everything from harbours to hospitals.
In the summer of 1940, the most important battle in the history of air warfare was fought between the British Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe in the skies over southern Britain. Only after a tightly-fought series of aerial battles did the RAF secure a narrow victory - or did it? Although glamourised by the press and cinema alike over the past 60 years, the battle was an intense war of attrition in which luck, skill, judgement and bravery all played a role. The Battle of Britain explores in detail the men, machines and tactics engaged in the epic struggle, and seeks to debunk some of the popular myths that surround it. The book examines the strength of both sides on the eve of the battle, and its wider strategic implications fo the outcome of the war, before looking at the German preparations for invasion, and the Luftwaffe's state of readiness after the Polish and French campaigns. It explains why the battle was a race against time for the Germans and highlights factors such as the lack of suitable transports and inexperience in planning a seaborne invasion that helped hinder their efforts. The book also asks whether Hitler himself was ever truly committed to invading Britain. Britain's preparations for defending herself from attack are also closely examined. The role and effectiveness of such institutions as the Home Guards and Observer Corps are covered, as well as the vital Chain Home and Chain Home Low radar networks. The Battle of Britain analyses the RAF's preparations for the battle, its main fighters, the Hurricane and the Spitfire, and the vital importance of pilots from the Commonwealth, Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, the United States and elsewhere. The Battle of Britain covers every stage of this mammoth contest in detail, beginning with the opening attacks on British shipping and ports. The book highlights how close the war of attrition against the RAF came to succeeding, when the full fury of the Luftwaffe was unleashed on its airfields. It also asks why the Luftwaffe began bombing the cities when it was so close to success. The failings of both sides are dissected: the discord between key RAF commanders, and the initial failure of the Germans to realise the importance of radar. Superbly illustrated with both full-colour artworks of the aircraft (including some three-view artworks), as well as colour and black-and-white photographs, and a detailed appendix on squadron and aircraft service history, The Battle of Britain provides an outstanding account of the conflict.
'a superb account of the invasions that deserves immense praise' The Times
Renowned World War Two historian James Holland presents an entirely new perspective on one of the most important moments in recent history, unflinchingly examining the brutality and violence that characterised the campaign.
D-Day and the 76 days of bitter fighting in Normandy that followed have come to be seen as a defining episode in the Second World War. Its story has been endlessly retold, and yet it remains a narrative burdened by both myth and assumed knowledge.
In this reexamined history, James Holland presents a broader overview, one that challenges much of what we think we know about D-Day and the Normandy campaign. The sheer size and scale of the Allies' war machine ultimately dominates the strategic, operational and tactical limitations of the German forces.
This was a brutal campaign. In terms of daily casualties, the numbers were worse than for any one battle during the First World War.
Between 1940 and 1945, Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) carried out sabotage and organised resistance across occupied Europe. Over 5 years, SOE sent over 500 agents into Norway to carry out a range of operations from sabotage and assassination to attempts to organise an underground guerrilla army.
This book is the first multi-archival, international academic analysis of SOE's policy and operations in Norway and the influences that shaped them, challenging previous interpretations of the relationship between this organisation and both the Norwegian authorities and the Milorg resistance movement.
The second and final volume which tells the stories of, and illustrates, all the German battleships that were in Kriegsmarine service during WWII.
The author describes the history of the ships in the order in which they entered service, devoting much precise attention to their construction and their differences in construction from other ships.
The author also reviews the history of the Kriegsmarine service, the many curiosities in its policy and people who had a direct influence on the fate of the ships.
All the ships are described and illustrated with full technical specifications. The book is profusely illustrated with the author's own scale drawings.
The Roman Imperial Navy was the most powerful maritime force ever to have existed, prior to the European naval development of relatively recent centuries. It was able to deploy huge fleets and dominate the seas around western Europe, north Africa, and the Middle East, as well as the great rivers that formed a large part of the eastern boundary of the Roman world. It secured the trade routes and maintained the communications that allowed the Roman Empire to exist. It brought previously untouchable and unreachable enemies to battle and enabled the expansion of Imperial power into areas thought hitherto inaccessible. At the height of its power the Roman Navy employed tens of thousands of sailors, marines and craftsmen, who manned and maintained a fleet of warships far larger than anything in existence today. And yet these warships, the very tools that allowed the Roman Navy to dominate the seas, have remained largely unstudied.
Drawing upon archaeological evidence, documentary accounts and visual representations, the book charts the development and evolution of the Roman warship over eight centuries of naval activity, showing how ships were evolved to meet the circumstances of the different areas in which they had to operate, the different functions they needed to fulfil, and the changing nature of their enemies.
"This book is the latest in a new reference series for aircraft modellers called "Spotlight On" and presents detailed illustrations of the German Luftwaffe's WWII lightweight ground attack aircraft which saw front-line combat in North Africa and on the Eastern Front.
The book contains 40 specially-commissioned colour plan and profile views illustrating the different camouflage, colours and markings of German and other air forces including Hungary and Romania.